Even today, I like to trick myself into thinking that by purchasing Wizard101 with crowns, I'm buying those areas forever. But, when Wizard101 is no longer a profitable enterprise, it will go. And all of my money with it. We all assume and hope that it won't be any time soon, but recent signs seem to prove otherwise. Will Wizard101 dissipate like smoke?
There are three telling signs to me that Wizard101 is nearing a close. The first is J. Todd Coleman leaving - did his game vision go with him? Read more in the first of the "Wizard101: The End?" posts HERE.
Days of OldI've played Wizard101 for a long time. Though I never played beta, I did play the game with the launch release, starting in December of 2008. I still remember the announcement that the Test Realm was opening for Dragonspyre, and, though I never downloaded it, I am told it was very exciting and very unique.
It's important to KingsIsle to keep these sort of players around. Because, at a certain point, the game really starts to grow on you, and some people like to look at things a bit more... in-depth. That's a huge marketing tactic, because it means that KingsIsle doesn't have to constantly release new content to keep people excited - the players do that for them!
Experience is KeyI won't always tell you that experience is the key to anything. But in this situation, it's veteran players who have a feel for how Wizard101 has worked in the past and how it works now. And making that comparison is important.
KingsIsle employees don't always get the chance to have the full game experience, and when they do, it's usually to do the content, not spend idle time in the Bazaar or hundreds of PvP matches - even I don't have time for that.
And of course, no one expects them to. That's what all the players are for - conveying that information to KingsIsle so that they can make the necessary changes. Players have always been ready to offer feedback. But lately, something different has happened.
Some people have decided to take a nastier tone to with KingsIsle - to start calling named like CrownsIsle and essentially flaming the company with little or no real feedback involved. It was attempt simply to catch attention... and not in the right way at all. That was unacceptable and quickly taken care of. But does it indicate something bigger?
Game VeteransFor the "Wizard101: The End?" mini-series so far, I've been using other companies and/or games as examples - that applies here, too. It's actually a common sign that games are going downhill when its original players are no longer satisfied. We established the idea that these players are extremely important - what happens when we take them away?
When a game's direction changes so much that a new audience may enjoy the change but the veteran audience does not, it creates problems. Think of the company as a plank... strange, yes. But the company, like the plank, has to be flexible, but at the same time sturdy enough not to snap. When the plank undergoes significant changes - bad weather, we'll say - then it's tested. It may bend, and with too much pressure, it snaps.
When you change the game direction, you place pressure on the company. While a new audience has no idea about how the game used to be and is satisfied, the old audience does not like the change. This creates a dangerous bend. If enough veterans leave (and I was surprised how many people used the term "CrownsIsle...) before enough new players flood in, the revenue is no longer large enough to support all of the growth from launch and operations at KingsIsle. Snap!
However, I don't believe KingsIsle is changing too much, or too fast. I think Wizard101 is doing just find as far as game direction go - but it seems that there are plenty who disagree. But are there enough?
The End?Suppose J. Todd Coleman's leave isn't enough to signal the end of Wizard101. Maybe veteran players' retaliation isn't either. But I'm not finished yet! Is Wizard101 coming to an end? Maybe nearing an end? Or is Wizard101 just getting started!
Thanks for reading and see you in the Spiral!